Thorncliff Manor is the perfect setting for a masquerade ball . . . where the heart’s secret desires are about to be uncovered in this scintillating Regency romance from Sophie Barnes
Richard Heartly has exiled himself from society since the war, plotting his revenge for a terrible betrayal. A masked ball at Thorncliff Manor is intended to be a brief diversion. Instead, he encounters a fascinating young woman as entranced by the music as he is. He can’t reveal his identity to Lady Mary. But her siren song keeps drawing him back, and their clandestine meetings could be hazardous to his plan—and to her virtue . . .
Avoiding an unwanted marriage was easy when Lady Mary was ignored by the ton. Thanks to her dazzling appearance at the masquerade, she’s a wallflower no longer. Eligible suitors abound, yet the only man she wants is the brooding, seductive companion who keeps his face hidden. A man who tempts her to disclose her own shocking secret, one that could divide them forever . . .
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Oh the secrets and revelations
Returning to Thorncliff Manor for a Masquerade Ball provides the perfect backdrop for intrigue, mystery and clandestine assignations. It’s also a wonderful diversion for Richard Heartly, a distraction from the endless time spent consumed with revenge. He’s been out of society since returning from the war, and with no real intentions to immerse himself, a ball is the best way to gather intelligence, gossip and dip his toes in. The house is, after all, the purview of his grandmother’s dearest friend, Lady Duncaster. Surely this is the opportunity he should not miss.
Mary Bourneville is utterly real and fabulous – thoughtful, generous, kind and wholly determined to live her own life on her terms. She’s also doing her utmost, with her own scandalous secret, to finance her elder brother’s life and home. She’s a wonderfully complex woman, full of moments that juxtapose her own innocence with the worldliness that comes from struggling to take charge of her own life without being hampered by a controlling family or husband.
Oh the secrets and revelations! Scandalous, deadly, shocking and even cowardly the layers of reveals and deepening of an underlying mystery involving a group of peers seeking to influence and control history, the story just glides from one moment to the next. Mary and Richard are delightful together – her far more confident and optimistic approach to life and the people she encounters are tempered only by her kindness and wish to cause no harm. Richard’s immersion in his quest for revenge and subsequent isolation from society, combined with his own fears of how he will be perceived with his injuries keep him on edge and carefully dissecting every utterance, insecure in his own approach to items that are not in line with his quest for revenge.
The story is slowly building to a conclusion of the underlying mystery at Thorncliff, with rumors of treasure and connections to earlier generations of the major characters in this story. Lady Duncaster, the current resident and owner, has brought the players together again, requested their assistance and silence, and hopes to close this chapter. A wonderful installment that keeps interest and excitement for the next book.
I received an eArc copy of the title from the publisher via Edelweiss for purpose of honest review. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility.